Over the weekend Arkansas governor and minister and former fat person Mike Huckabee's new variety show premiered on Fox News. "We may have the first election in history where it's the winner who demands the recount!" he joked. No kidding. Huckabee went on to excoriate Wall Street and the bailout package congressional Republicans just sabotaged in a strikingly hard-to-dispute monologue that not only only foreshadowed the Nay that just sunk our stock market but also, one suspects, what will emerge as a new populist tone to the network's news coverage. Here's a partial transcript.
Wall Street has become Las Vegas East. Except the difference is, when the gamblers lose at the crap tables in Vegas, they don't have the audacity to go ask the government to cover their losses. The real tragedy was that investments were not all that took a plunge, integrity did. It was in 1995 that Republicans led welfare reform. We quit giving out money to poor people who didn't work. Now we're about to give out huge sums to the richest companies in the land. And some of the people whose very leadership of the companies sank their companies and brought our economy to its knees gained them hundreds of millions and bonuses and pay. Like the CEO of the collapsed Washington Mutual. He's poised to receive 20 million dollars for 17 days on the job. Look, I'd be willing to be fired from any job for half that much money.
The hours of news coverage that preceded Huck's variety show yesterday were also noteworthy. Numerous mentions were made to Barack Obama's post-debate lead in the polls (even as anchor Sean Hannity and other pundits maintained that McCain had indisputably "won" the debate). More surprisingly, conservative columnist Kathleen Parker's call for Sarah Palin to step down, a three-day-old story. To be fair (and balanced!) a segment was also devoted to replaying Rev. Wright's "God Damn America" sermon, and that story is many years old. But it all seemed a far cry from the Fox we watched before the nation became glued to CNBC. It's a Fox that seems resigned to a likely Obama win in November, but determined to make the whole thing sufficiently Pyrrhic that Democrats will be virtually begging John Roberts to take it back.